Quicksand, Nella Larsen
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Nella Larsen

Quicksand

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Helga's mother is white, and her father is black--and absent. Ostracized throughout her lonely childhood for her dark skin, Helga spends her adult life seeking acceptance. Everywhere she goes — the American South, Harlem, even Denmark--she feels oppressed. Socially, economically, and psychologically, Helga struggles against the "quicksand" of classism, racism, and sexism.One of the most acclaimed and influential writers of the Harlem Renaissance, Nella Larsen published her powerful first novel in 1928. Quicksand features intriguing autobiographical parallels with Larsen's own life, in addition to reflecting many aspects of African-American culture of the 1920s. Alice Walker praised it and Passing (Larsen's second novel, also available in a Dover edition) as "novels I will never forget. They open up a whole world of experience and struggle that seemed to me, when I first read them years ago, absolutely absorbing, fascinating, and indispensable."
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She felt shamed, betrayed, as if these pale pink and white people among whom she lived had suddenly been invited to look upon something in her which she had hidden away and wanted to forget.
Large, too. So large that the spot where Helga sat was a small oasis in a desert of darkness.
The minutes gathered into hours, but still she sat motionless, a disdainful smile or an angry frown passing now and then across her face. Somewhere in the room a little clock ticked time away
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